The forgotten workplace virtue

21st August 2020 / BY / IN Leadership

We have all heard the quote “patience is a virtue.” But our collective effort to exercise patience is being tested today more than ever before.  

In an accelerated, 21st century workplace, leaders feel the pressure of generating faster and better results with fewer resources.  

This demand for faster outcomes neglects the importance of patience.  

Patience is wrongly confused with complacency in a workplace that demands pace in decision making. But activity doesn’t necessarily mean progress.  

Take a second to consider some of the greatest innovations of our time. How much thinking time did they require?  

Innovation thrives when people have time to think. And when people procrastinate, they are at their most creative. In sum, results are better when patience is exercised and ideas are given time to grow. 

At Mondrem, we often encourage our clients to make deep-rooted change that requires the adoption of new behaviours. And when you want to achieve this type of change, patience is needed. This is why we make sure the pace of change is comfortable for the entire team. 

Realistic targets need to be set, and we shouldn’t be afraid to amend targets when we feel uncomfortable – you have got to trust that you will find the right time to make change. 

While short-term wins are absolutely necessary for gathering momentum and preparing employees for the long march, they need to be carefully incorporated into the broader vision. Quick wins are gratifying and leaders should be encouraged to obtain clear performance improvements from the onset, but lasting change takes years to sink down deep into the culture of an organization. 

If we want change to seep into the bloodstream and become anchored in the culture, we need patience. There are lots of steps in the transformation process, and there are no shortcuts – if we celebrate victory too soon, the resistors will see an opportunity to damage the vision and prevent real change. 

So, leaders need to maintain the momentum of change through short-term wins, while exercising patience. 

Unfortunately, patience is often linked with passivity, tolerance and even resignation. It’s become unfashionable, despite its distinguished past. Patience, like communication, is a workplace virtue and it should be celebrated as a viable course of action. 

So, next time you’re sent a request, don’t be afraid to use the “do nothing yet” response. 

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